Tennessee hosting Kentucky might just be what the Volunteers need on Saturday after a demoralizing loss a week ago. The Volunteers got hammered last week by Georgia, 44-21, and the Wildcats are going to face an upset group of Tennessee football players.
That, along with a couple of other factors is why I am taking No. 18 Tennessee over Kentucky in this week’s One Bet, $100. The Volunteers are at home, and laying six points. The line opened at seven points in Tennessee’s favor, and it was surprising to me that it dropped a point.
One Bet, $100
|This Week||Last Week||Season Total|
|Tennessee over Kentucky||Won: Georgia over Tennessee||2-2, Down $20|
Last week I bet against Tennessee when they faced Georgia on the road. The Bulldogs gave away 12 points and gave me a bit of a sweat when they were down at halftime, 21-17. The turned it on in the second half, however, outscoring Tennessee, 27-0.
As bullish as I was on Georgia last week, I have the same feeling with Tennessee this week against Kentucky.
Kentucky Run Will Be Stopped by Tennessee
If Kentucky is going to upset Tennessee they are going to have to have success with their run game, which has been a staple of their offense this season. Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson and running back Christopher Rodriguez Jr. have led the team to the top spot in the SEC in rushing.
That stat, however, might be misleading. Kentucky got 408 of their 637 yards this season against Mississippi, who is terrible in defending the run. Despite all those yards they still lost to the Rebels.
On Saturday they will face Tennessee, who has a vastly better run defense than Ole Miss. When Kentucky faced Auburn, they only managed 145 yards on 40 attempts.
“They’re committed to running the football, and they’ve had success running it against everybody,” Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt told reporters this week. “The creativity that he does each week and how he does it is very impressive to me from a conceptual standpoint, just watching them and studying them. It’s a huge challenge for us.”
Tennessee Should Run, Pass at Will
Kentucky has a stout run defense, but they are facing a Tennessee team that has an impressive offensive line. No member of that group is under 300 pounds, and Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops told reporters it will be a challenge for his team to stop them.
“They really have become physical and that is an area they have drastically improved since Jeremy (Pruitt) has been there,” Stoops said. “You can see the physicality.”
Pruitt said his offense will have to get creative against Kentucky.
“Defensively, they’ve always created issues in our league, the last three or four years,” Pruitt said. “Really good in the red area. A lot of blitzing, varieties in coverages there, so you gotta do a nice job.”
Tennessee is 11th in passing in the SEC, and will have to improve on that part of the game to have success against Kentucky. I think they will, and should cruise to an easy victory.